immad Profile picture
23 Nov, 9 tweets, 3 min read
1/ “How to judge a startup?” is the winner of the poll I did yesterday on angel investment topics.

This is a complex topic and deserve multiple tweet storms.
Let me first start with deciding what spaces you will invest in: “your investment thesis”.

2/ With a thesis you: a) develop an expertise in judging startups in that space, b) can talk to multiple entrepreneurs and iterate your ideas.

I tend to have a combination of broad + very specific theses that I adapt over time.
3/ For a narrow e.g.: In 2016 I had a thesis that vertical applications of autonomous vehicles would be big. I invested in 6 startups and 2 ended up being a hit: @embarktrucks (autonomous trucks, public ~$4bn market cap) and @bfrobotics (autonomous tractors, acquired for $250m).
4/ The autonomous vehicle thesis proved out to be successful.

A less successful thesis I had is that home IoT would be a much bigger hit and needed better software. I have invested in 4 companies in that space, some of them may still work out but it’s not an obvious win.
5/ Having multiple theses—and multiple companies in each thesis—gives you a fairly differentiated strategy.

2 out of 6 autonomous vehicle startups were a hit, as well as 0 of 4 of the IoT startups. With just 2 out of 10 hits, you still gets a 10x portfolio in seed investing.
6/ In order to form a thesis I look at:

a) large or expanding markets
b) technology or societal trends
c) talk to entrepreneurs in and outside your current thesis
d) listen to podcasts + read
e) focus on spaces I understand
7/ You don't have to be contrarian in your thesis, but if you do pick a non-contrarian one, it helps to be narrow.

e.g.: everyone is investing in fintech right now. But you might have a thesis that "vertical consumer neobanks will be huge".
8/ ~10% of the pitches you listen to should be interesting startups outside your current theses.

This helps find new theses to invest in and keep current on what you are missing out on. This is how I ended up investing in @momentusspace and getting into space tech startups.
9/ There isn’t an exact answer to “how to judge a startup?”. Hopefully that gives you some insight on how I think about investing theses.

I will cover other subjects on judging a startup in future tweet storms.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with immad

immad Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @immad

30 Mar
Over the years, I have tried to share learnings from my startups and seed investing.

Decided to combine my startup tweets+tweetstorms into a tweethurricane.

Here are my learnings + advice, from pitching investors to getting through the journey:
🧵 Identify the nucleus of your startup story

🐦 How to do cold outreach to investors

Read 23 tweets
16 Mar
1/ Fundraising is a bit of a chicken and egg process, where once you get momentum it's easy and before that it's almost impossible.

Closing a funding round requires momentum, and there is an art to "creating" FOMO in a genuine way.

Here are some do's and don'ts:

Don't: try to create pressure before the investor is excited about your startup.

Sometimes entrepreneurs will say things like "the round is almost closed", "we need a decision this week" etc, before they have met the investor.

You need to first get buy in from the investor.

Don't: exaggerate your fundraising state.

Investors have a pretty tuned BS sensor and saying things like: "We are expecting term sheets next week", "we just talked to 10 funds next week" often backfire.

In those situations the investors might be tempted to just wait.
Read 7 tweets
27 Feb
1/ Before writing a startup deck or pitching investors you should identify the nucleus of your story and how it could be a $1b+ company.

This should be a two sentence story that you then build the rest of your pitch around.

And you should truly believe in your story.
2/ When I started @BankMercury in 2017 our story was:

"Business banking is a $300b+ market, but banks aren't technology companies. Tech companies will disrupt all of banking as seen in consumer. Serving startups 1st allows us to grow with them and they care most about product"
3/ The best stories show:

- How big the market is
- Why now is the right time for your startup idea
- Why yours' is the right approach
- why you are the right founder to do it

You have to pick the elements that are most relevant+important for your story.
Read 6 tweets
18 Jan

The first “Future of Fintech” Clubhouse is going to cover challenger banks with:

@pitdesi at BTV
@arampell at @a16z
@patrickmro_ at @pointapp
@maiab at @Chime
@immad at @BankMercury

Tuesday, Jan 26 at 6:00 PM PST.

Save the date here:

We are going to try to make this a fast paced convo that skips the basics and goes deep on the subject.

Some subjects:

- why did European challenger banks fail on their US expansion
- will the big banks be able to keep market caps as fintech continues to grow exponentially

- will more challenger banks get bank charters
- what’s the future of partner banks and BaaS
- will embedded banking disrupt challenger banks

Any other subjects people would like to see?
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
1/ As an investor you are often making very quick decisions about startups.

Here are some questions I think about:

- have they built something impressive before
- have they thought about the problems deeply
- have they shown perseverance
- do they care about the problem

- could this be a $10b company if things went right
- if in a pre-existing large market a) are the incumbents old/un-innovative, b) do founders understand customers enough to find a wedge
- if new market a) how big can this grow in optimistic case, b) why now

- is it inevitable that this will exist in 10 years time
- are there likely to be lots of competitors
- is there strong network effect at scale?
- will it improve the world 🌎
Read 5 tweets
6 Dec 20
1/ On enjoying the journey:

In winter 2009 Paul Buchheit (@paultoo) gave a talk to our YC batch.

He said if you want money you should go work at Google/Facebook instead of doing a startup and you should do a startup if you enjoy the journey.

I thought he was crazy at the time.
2/ I thought:

A) I wanted the end result and didn’t care much about they journey
B) Startup founders seemed to have such great exits
C) It seemed like doing a startup was pretty hard
D) I didn’t think people got paid that much at big cos
3/ Between 2009 and 2015, Paul was proven extremely right.

All my friends who had taken jobs at those big companies or other high growth startups had done very well.

Whereas I was still struggling at my startup.
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!